Staying in Step for a Successful Military Life

5 Tips for Dealing with Ambiguous Waiting

by | Feb 7, 2017 | Career & Learning, Spiritual Health

I’ve wanted to join the military since I was 12 years old.  I thought about it over the years, fasted and prayed about it, researched.  I’m a Christian, and I want God’s guidance in my life.  I worked through some questions about the morality of being a Christian in the military and emerged more informed and interested in pursuing it.  

I waited for the “burning bush” moment many Christians expect when God calls you to do something; a moment that is clear, definitive, and miraculous.  The undeniable voice of God calling me to some great task.

Well, it didn’t come.

I chose to go to college, and I watched my then-boyfriend, Jacob, go to AFBMT and start his military career.  I thought I would be happy being a chaplain’s wife; it was still the military life, after all.  It was on the support side of things but still hugely valuable and important.  However… the more I saw the opportunities Jacob had, how he grew, the people he met, the more I still really wanted to be in, too.

I asked Jacob what he thought about me joining.  After all, we had been dating a couple years at this point and marriage was in the plans. He had not signed up for a dual-military marriage.  I knew it would be great to join the military, but I also knew how much I loved Jacob.  Happily… he didn’t make me decide.  His eyes lit up, and he was super excited about the idea!  As we talked and I saw how enthusiastic he was, the more enthusiastic I became.   This would be awesome!

We (obviously) ended up getting married, and we researched approximate timelines to figure out when would be a good time for me to join up.  He still had a 3-4 year Masters program to finish, and we wanted to at least try to finish and go active duty at about the same time.  So at the right time, I started the Air Force application process.

I won’t go into all the details here, but I started that process over a year and a half ago.  I’ve received blanket rejections (due to the political climate, you guys know), and I’m currently waiting for a few more months on an answer as to whether or not I’ll receive a commission.

The wait has been excruciating, the information limited, and the rejections brutal.  I’ve done a lot of learning and growing, but it has been hard.

If you find yourself in a time of ambiguous waiting, maybe these things will help you like they helped me:

  • Stay busy.

Don’t put your life on hold as you wait for answers.  Continue to do the things you need to do, that you want to do, that you love to do.  Find things you’re passionate about that can encourage you along the way.  For me, I really enjoy blogging and vintage fashion.  These are outlets for me that I can get excited about and work on right now.

  • Keep talking with God.

Like I said, I’ve been praying about this for years, and God never gave me an answer or guarantee as to whether or not this was an approved path for me until a few months ago.  I’ve seen the need and felt the passion, but I didn’t have clarity.  That doesn’t mean I stopped talking to God.  I got frustrated, I even got angry sometimes at his seeming silence, but I never stopped talking to him.  He has heard my heart, and he knows how to handle it.  He is not threatened by my authenticity or doubts.  He has addressed my concerns, anxieties, fears, and mistrust every time—and at exactly the moment and in the way I needed it most.  He doesn’t act on my timetable or how I want, but I’m more confident every day that he knows better than I do anyway.

  • Work as if you’ll get the answer you want.

I don’t have a guarantee that I’ll be accepted into the Air Force.  However…. if I do get accepted, I need to be physically, mentally, and spiritually ready for it.  I’m exercising, eating, studying, and praying like it’s certain.  Even if I don’t get the answer I want, I’ve still grown into a stronger, better person.  That is never a waste, and I’ll still use these developments in the future no matter where I go.

  • Cope with the idea that you may not get the answer you want.

This is the other side of the coin.  While I live as if I will get the answer I want, I’ve definitely still had to work through the idea that I may not.  I’ve had some rough moments thinking about that and some major talks with God, but I’ve come through them knowing that I will be okay either way.  I can still live a full life with either answer.  (I don’t know what to say about how to get to this trusting, calmer state other than taking it to Jesus and talking to him about it. Seriously, even if you’re not a Christian I’d suggest giving it an honest try.)

  • Stay connected to the present.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to cut all ties when you sense a transition coming.  I want to tunnel vision on my goal of the military, but if I do I’m going to miss out on all the wonderful things I have right now.  It’s so hard to be content where I’m at when all I want is in the future!  However, after more talks with Jesus, I am better at being happy where I am.  I’m plugged into the community.  I take time to build relationships with people here and explore the city.  I’m reminding myself to be thankful for the moments I have with my husband and all the good things God has given me.  Instead of letting my thoughts drift to how disappointed I am that I’m not in the Air Force yet, I choose to think about the cool things I’m experiencing and doing now.  It’s a daily battle, but it makes a big difference.

Are you or have you had to wait for a decision or change that seemed to take forever?  What things helped you get through the time of ambiguous waiting?


  1. Aline

    Dear Emileigh & Jacob,
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts & experience through this blog ! I’m currently experiencing this ambiguous waiting you describe: I’m in the recruitement process to join the Air Force (not in the US, though) and it’s taking forever! I’m waiting for a call from the AF and trying to stay positive, while handling my current job which is emotionally challenging at the moment. Your blog helps me focusing on my goal and bringing poritive vibes!

    • Emileigh

      I sure feel you! It took me a *long* time (and multiple rejections!) to get into the Air Force, so I totally get how you feel. Keep going strong and thriving where you’re at while you wait! It’s not wasted time!


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